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The EMBS Chapter of the IEEE Ottawa Section was recognized as the Best Ottawa Chapter in 2008, 2010, 2014, 2019, and 2022 and received the Outstanding Chapter Award from IEEE EMBS in 2011!

Learning from insects -- they're not just squishy and icky

Photo of Dr. Jeff W Dawson

Dr. Jeff W. Dawson

Associate Professor, Department of Biology, Carleton University

Thursday March 20, 2014 12:00 - 13:00

311 Southam Hall, Carleton University

Registration not required.

Parking: Paid parking is available



For insects, the ability to fly is perhaps the most significant evolutionary development in their c.450 million year evolutionary history and without doubt has contributed significantly to their diversification and success. In addition to powered flight and exceptional manoeuvrability, insects are also remarkable for their specialized sensory organs and sophisticated neural networks capable of rapidly processing and integrating information with ongoing flight activity to produce adaptive responses. In this talk, I will present data from my research group aimed at understanding how locusts fly, and in particular, some emerging ideas as to how locusts may be producing steering torques.


Jeff earned his B.Sc. and M.Sc. from the University of Toronto and received his Ph.D. in Biology from Queen's University in 2001. Jeff is, by training, a neurobiologist, but during his doctorate, developed a thirst for things mechanical and aeronautical when his thesis work on neuromuscular control of locust wing movements became enriched by a visit to Cambridge University to learn about the aerodynamics of insect flight from Dr. Charlie Ellington. Jeff returned to Cambridge for an NSERC post-doc with Ellington before joining the faculty of science at Carleton in 2005. Jeff's current research program focuses on building bridges between neurobiology and aerodynamics by studying the escape manoeuvres insects (a.k.a. natures micro-air-vehicles) use to avoid capture by aerial predators. Jeff is cross appointed to the Department of Neuroscience and is a member of the Ottawa Carleton Institute for Biomedical Engineering. Jeff is not an engineer but wishes he was.

Last updated March 14, 2014

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